By Fleming Smith
Photography professor Pradip Malde recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue a photography project on female genital cutting. He was chosen as one of 175 U.S. and Canadian artists and scholars out of 3,000 applicants.
Guggenheim Fellowships are annually awarded to scholars as well as artists who demonstrate “exceptional creative ability in the arts,” according to its website. The Guggenheim Foundation, started in 1925, on average awards approximately $40,000 to winners of the fellowship to pursue their projects during a period ranging from six months to a year.
Describing his project in a blog post, Malde wrote, “[Female genital cutting] is wrong not only because it harms the bodies and psyche of mothers, wives and daughters, but also because it rips the psychological and economic fabric of communities—the very thing that it is purported to preserve.”
He continued, “For this reason, if no other, it matters that men care about FGC—the fight against it stands as a symbolization of women’s agency, and as a move toward a healthy societal psyche. I care.”
Currently, Malde is working on a project involving rural communities in Haiti, Tanzania, and Grundy County, Tennessee. Malde serves as the co-director of the Haiti Institute in Sewanee. His work in Haiti will be exhibited this summer in Frankfurt, Germany, the latest in a long line of international and domestic showings of his work.
“Pradip cares so deeply about his craft and the way he thinks about art and beauty translates into everything he does,” said Lucy Wimmer (C’20), one of Malde’s students. “It is humbling working with and learning from someone who is at the very top of his field.”
Malde graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1980 and has worked as a photographic artist and teacher in Scotland and Tennessee. On his website, he explains that much of his work deals with the “experience of loss and how it serves as a catalyst for regeneration.” To see his work, visit pradipmalde.com.